Year One, Second Half
Geneva (Perle du Lac)

A year ago, I marked a confluence of transitions. How many times, I continue to wonder, can one bounce back from failure? I also consider, if failure (however conceived) has lead me here . . .


I am full of reflections and anticipations.

So what if the museum is closed on Tuesday? (Familiar.) I think I’m gonna have to order “The Lives of Einstein.”
I got enough of a buzz from the outdoor displays. Auguste de la Rive’s ideas about the Aurora Borealis, for instance, were half correct: they do result from a combination of magnetism (strongest at the earth’s poles) and electricity. He was only wrong about the origins of the involved electricity – not terrestrial, but from the larger cosmos. Marc-Auguste Pictet was involved in negotiations concerning the establishment of the prime meridian, and Jean-Robert Chovet (unlike yours truly) was known for his diplomatic skill and (similar to yours truly) believed “more weight should be given to lay people in the management of the Academy” (emphasis added, and – in addition to esteemed institutions of higher learning, many domains could be substituted in place of the organizational forebear of the University of Geneva). (Time, by the way, to read Descartes: Discourse on the Method. And do you think it is remotely possible for a person to function like a gnomon?)
As it turned out, I did not travel by water taxi across the lake to the Jardin Anglais to see the flower clock or the Musee de l’Horlogerie (which may or may not have been open). I did, however, wander through the Jardin Botanique spying all manner of flower, plant, and tree, not to mention several varieties of parrot, swans, geese, flamingos, and ducks, including some fantastically-plumaged Mandarin Ducks and Indian Peafowl. For spice, there were also Hermann’s Tortoises and Fallow Deer.
In case there was any danger of not living up to full nerdist credentials, I spent several hours writing (a book review, hopefully coming soon), during which I fielded delightful communiques from dearest friends and family. Whatever shadows thought to threaten the day were readily banished and I’ve just got the feeling that the coming second year after the cutting will proceed in more-or-less similar fashion as this one just passed.
At any rate, here’s hoping!

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